In 2019 our founder Marie-Louise Sciò decided to put into action a little idea she’d been contemplating for a while: creating an ‘elevated’, Italian-inspired version of the classic Birkenstock sandal. She’d always liked the iconic German shoe brand for its straightforward approach to footwear. What if, she thought, she could bring a touch of Italianità and Pellicano style to it?
"Birkenstock has always shared a way of thinking similar to mine and to our hotels: Less is more. It’s not about trends and seasons, but about timeless quality. I wear Birkenstock all the time in the summer, but I needed a more elegant version of the shoe that could be worn day and night. Hence the idea for the collaboration. I wanted to create something that could blend both style and function”
After pitching the concept to Birkenstock, Marie-Louise began working with the company to design a unique, La Dolce Vita-influenced capsule collection that would reflect her vision. The name for it would be Il Dolce Far Niente – a reference to the carefree living Italians are masters of. The partnership was a first of sorts for both parties involved.
Up until then, Birkenstock hadn’t done many external collaborations yet, let alone with a hotel brand (Pellicano Hotels Group, of which Marie-Louise is CEO and Creative Director). Similarly, Marie-Louise had never teamed up with a shoe brand before.
Arizona Raffia Brown
One of the successful designs
“The beauty of idleness in six elegant styles, designed by the personification of the Italian way of life. They incapsulate La Dolce Vita.”
But, as you might already know, it worked. The resulting pieces – six beautiful renditions of the Arizona sandal – became cult classics for Pelli lovers and Birkenstock fanatics alike, selling out almost immediately when they were pre-launched on MATCHESFASHION.COM in May and, a month later, worldwide.
Offline, people lined up to see them on display in the Atrium of the Galeries Lafayette store on Paris’ Champs Elysées, where they were presented in a custom set design from the end of June to mid-July. In 2020, a limited collection of the Birkenstock Il Dolce Far Niente sold out in less than 24 hours on ISSIMO. The hype is easy to understand. Featuring haute materials such as silk and raffia; handcrafted leather details; and a palette of colours spanning Pellicano yellow, warm shades of brown, navy-blue and luminous fuchsia red, each style captured the spirit, mood, and understated elegance of Il Pellicano, exuding simple chicness.